Don Hofstrand, Value-Added Agriculture Field Specialist, Northeast Area
Information has value only if it is in the hands of people during periods of decision making. Traditionally, extension information has been disseminated through meetings and individual contacts. However, these methods miss a large number of potential users. Direct contact through postal mail and the Internet provide additional dissemination tools.
Ag Decision Maker is a hardcopy and internet handbook and monthly newsletter of current business information relating to decisions facing farmers and agriculture. The handbook contains Information Files pertaining to topics such as land values, leasing arrangements, crop and livestock budgets, marketing information, etc. The hardcopy version contains 143 and the Internet version contains 277 Information Files. The handbook is updated monthly as new information comes available. The updates are sent with the monthly newsletter. The internet version also has 50 Decision Aids. These are electronic spreadsheets where individual users can enter their own numbers to find a solution for their individual situation. The internet version also has 50 Teaching Activities. These are word files that classroom students complete with information contained in the accompanying Information File.
During March of 2005, Ag Decision Maker exceeded 1,000 visitors per day at the site. These visitors spent an average of over 13 minutes at the site. This is an impressive length of stay for a Web site and indicates the visitors were seeking specific information at the site rather than browsing the site. The average amount of time visitors spent at the site each day is 225 hours. This is the equivalent of 28-eight hour days spent at the site each day.
April 29, 2005
104 -- Agricultural Risk and Financial Management
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